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Was Alexa Cioffi’s Death Caused by Negligence? Still No Word From NYPD

Update: NYPD said as of today no charges have been filed against the driver who killed Alexa Cioffi.

Reporter and Streetsblog reader Joe Enoch produced this "Inside Edition" piece on the prevalence of improperly secured trailers on U.S. roads. It features an interview with Kristi Cox, a Minnesota woman whose husband and child were killed by a negligent driver whose trailer hit their car. According to the story, hundreds of people a year are killed by drivers who fail to follow proper trailer safety procedures.

"The word ‘accident’ bothers me," says Cox. "If they would have hooked that up correctly that day, if they would have put the two chains on and the pin, then right now as I sit here, then Liam would still have his dad and his sister.”

Another victim might have been 21-year-old Alexa Cioffi. On September 14, Cioffi and a friend were hit by a detached boat trailer as they rode bikes on Staten Island's Hylan Boulevard. Cioffi died, and Briana Emanuele was hospitalized in critical condition. NYPD did not immediately file charges against the driver who was towing the boat. As is customary when police file no charges after a fatal crash, the driver's name was not released.

The Daily News quoted a police source who said the trailer that hit Cioffi and Emanuele was not properly attached to the truck. Otherwise media outlets for the most part ignored the driver's role in the crash. Instead, the Staten Island Advance said it would be "disrespectful" to discuss safer street designs -- i.e. bike lanes -- in the wake of Cioffi's death. Less than two weeks later the paper railed against the city for installing bike infrastructure at the expense of unfettered space for cars and trucks.

When I called NYPD for an update on Cioffi's case, Detective Kelly Ort directed me to email my questions. This is what happens when the person who answers the phone at the NYPD public information office doesn't want to look up or give out information.

Weeks after a woman lost her life in circumstances that strongly suggest criminal negligence, the public still does not have the smallest sliver of information from NYPD about what caused the incident and how the investigation is proceeding.

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